Marriage Inequality, On The Rocks
Frederick Clarkson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 08:40:31 PM EST
When our friend Osagyefo Sekou became the editor of the Boston version of the monthly newspaper Spare Change News, he asked me to write something.  I wrote on the results of the marriage equality referenda in four states, and how some things have changed in the political and religious communities. (See below)

Spare Change News is one of a number of similar newspapers across the country intended to provide a dignified way for homeless people to earn income without panhandling, and keep issues of homelessness before the reading public. Vendors keep a share of the cover price.  The papers cover other subjects as well, making them a good read on the bus or the subway.

marriage inequality, on the rocks
by Frederick Clarkson

Opponents of same-sex marriage had won 32 state referendums in a row, but their winning streak came to a screeching halt on Election Day, 2012. Voters in Maine, Maryland, and Washington state added to the number of states where marriage equality is now the law, increasing the total to nine states and the District of Columbia. In Minnesota, a referendum that would have amended the state constitution to exclude same-sex marriages failed.

It remains to be seen whether the dramatic turnaround becomes a trend. But many things changed, even before the bellwether election, which may shape the future in both political and religious communities. Some conservatives are also recognizing what these changes may mean for their movement and their party.

While public opinion has long been trending toward greater public acceptance of homosexuality and marriage equality, many sympathetic pols across the country have tended to avoid taking a clear stand. But this year, not only did President Obama and Vice President Biden prominently and unambiguously endorse marriage equality, but also the Democratic Party added it to the national platform for the first time. In contrast, the Republican Party doubled down in their opposition.

Religious leaders also presented a clear difference this year. While leaders of the Christian right played their usual role as the main opponents of same-sex marriage, the 2012 election season saw Christian and other religious leaders emerge as effective public supporters of marriage equality. Religious communities and leaders were formally part of the pro-marriage equality coalitions in all four states with initiatives on the ballot. "Each state's campaign had a faith director and faith organizers," Sharon Groves of the Human Rights Campaign explained in The Washington Post, "and, in the case of Minnesota, the faith director served as part of the senior policy team. In addition, sophisticated multi-faith coalitions and denominational groups stepped up their organizing efforts."

The prominent United Church of Christ minister, Rev. Otis Moss III, made a statement in a YouTube video featuring African American clergy. "In the name of fairness and equality for all, let us lay aside what divides us and join forces in that which unites us. On November 6, vote for Question 6 and let's protect all Marylanders."

The involvement of progressive Christian leaders is important, in part because one of the main arguments made by conservative Christian opponents has been that marriage equality is a threat to their religious liberty. Pro-equality religious leaders were able to authoritatively rebut conservative claims that churches that oppose same-sex marriage would be compelled to perform them in violation of their religious beliefs. In fact, no one has ever been forced to perform a marriage of which they did not approve in any of the states that have embraced marriage equality since Massachusetts led the way in 2003.

At this writing, some conservatives are breaking ranks in ways that would have been unthinkable a few years ago. "Conservatives don't need to change core convictions to embrace the growing support for equal rights for gay Americans," Ken Mehlman, former chairman of the Republican National Committee wrote in The Wall Street Journal. "It is sufficient to recognize the inherent conservatism in citizens' desire to marry, to be judged on their work, and not to be singled out for higher taxes or bullying at school. These objectives can be achieved while also protecting religious liberty... "

Mehlman concluded that conservatism, and by extension, the Republican Party, succeeds "when we attract new supporters to timeless traditions."

That some traditionalists now want to include gay people in the great tradition of marriage is, however, nothing short of revolutionary.

Conservative columnist Kathleen Parker, writing in The Washington Post, joined Mehlman at the rhetorical barricades -- calling on the Republican Party to "marginalize or banish those who in any way make African Americans, gays, single women or any other human being feel unwelcome...."

Such views are not uncommon among establishment Republicans. But conservative Christians are unlikely to change their theology to accommodate them. John Helmberger, for example, who heads the Focus on the Family political affiliate in Minnesota, declared at a major Christian right political conference in September: "What really drives us here is... marriage is about the Gospel. Marriage is a picture of the Gospel. By God's design, marriage is a picture of Christ the Bridegroom and his bride, the Church." He added: "If marriage is under attack anywhere, it is under attack everywhere."

Of course, supporters of marriage equality, whether they are progressive or conservative, religious or non-religious, do not see themselves as attacking marriage anywhere. They see marriage equality as merely extending the opportunity to marry to all.




Display:

WWW Talk To Action


Cognitive Dissonance & Dominionism Denial
There is new research on why people are averse to hearing or learning about the views of ideological opponents. Based on evaluation of five......
By Frederick Clarkson (5 comments)
Will the Air Force Do Anything To Rein In Its Dynamic Duo of Gay-Bashing, Misogynistic Bloggers?
"I always get nervous when I see female pastors/chaplains. Here is why everyone should as well: "First, women are not called to be pastors,......
By Chris Rodda (3 comments)
The Legacy of Big Oil
The media is ablaze with the upcoming publication of David Grann's book, Killers of the Flower Moon. The shocking non fiction account of the......
By wilkyjr (0 comments)
Gimme That Old Time Dominionism Denial
Over the years, I have written a great deal here and in other venues about the explicitly theocratic movement called dominionism -- which has......
By Frederick Clarkson (4 comments)
History Advisor to Members of Congress Completely Twists Jefferson's Words to Support Muslim Ban
Pseudo-historian David Barton, best known for his misquoting of our country's founders to promote the notion that America was founded as a Christian nation,......
By Chris Rodda (5 comments)
"Christian Fighter Pilot" Calls First Lesbian Air Force Academy Commandant a Liar
In a new post on his "Christian Fighter Pilot" blog titled "BGen Kristin Goodwin and the USAFA Honor Code," Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan......
By Chris Rodda (0 comments)
Catholic Right Leader Unapologetic about Call for 'Death to Liberal Professors' -- UPDATED
Today, Donald Trump appointed C-FAM Executive Vice President Lisa Correnti to the US Delegation To UN Commission On Status Of Women. (C-FAM is a......
By Frederick Clarkson (2 comments)
Controlling Information
     Yesterday I listened to Russ Limbaugh.  Rush advised listeners it would be best that they not listen to CNN,MSNBC, ABC, CBS and......
By wilkyjr (4 comments)
Is Bannon Fifth-Columning the Pope?
In December 2016 I wrote about how White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, who likes to flash his Catholic credentials when it comes to......
By Frank Cocozzelli (3 comments)
Ross Douthat's Hackery on the Seemingly Incongruous Alliance of Bannon & Burke
Conservative Catholic writer Ross Douthat has dissembled again. This time, in a February 15, 2017 New York Times op-ed titled The Trump Era's Catholic......
By Frank Cocozzelli (2 comments)
`So-Called Patriots' Attack The Rule Of Law
Every so often, right-wing commentator Pat Buchanan lurches out of the far-right fever swamp where he has resided for the past 50 years to......
By Rob Boston (1 comment)
Bad Faith from Focus on the Family
Here is one from the archives, Feb 12, 2011, that serves as a reminder of how deeply disingenuous people can be. Appeals to seek......
By Frederick Clarkson (6 comments)
The Legacy of George Wallace
"One need not accept any of those views to agree that they had appealed to real concerns of real people, not to mindless, unreasoning......
By wilkyjr (6 comments)
Betsy DeVos's Mudsill View of Public Education
My Talk to Action colleague Rachel Tabachnick has been doing yeoman's work in explaining Betsy DeVos's long-term strategy for decimating universal public education. If......
By Frank Cocozzelli (7 comments)
Prince and DeVos Families at Intersection of Radical Free Market Privatizers and Religious Right
This post from 2011 surfaces important information about President-Elect Trump's nominee for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos. -- FC Erik Prince, Brother of Betsy......
By Rachel Tabachnick (21 comments)

Respect for Others? or Political Correctness?
The term "political correctness" as used by Conservatives and Republicans has often puzzled me: what exactly do they mean by it? After reading Chip Berlin's piece here-- http://www.talk2action.org/story/2016/7/21/04356/9417 I thought about what he explained......
MTOLincoln (4 comments)
Fear
What I'm feeling now is fear.  I swear that it seems my nightmares are coming true with this new "president".  I'm also frustrated because so many people are not connecting all the dots! I've......
ArchaeoBob (6 comments)
"America - love it or LEAVE!"
I've been hearing that and similar sentiments fairly frequently in the last few days - far FAR more often than ever before.  Hearing about "consequences for burning the flag (actions) from Trump is chilling!......
ArchaeoBob (6 comments)
"Faked!" Meme
Keep your eyes and ears open for a possible move to try to discredit the people openly opposing Trump and the bigots, especially people who have experienced terrorism from the "Right"  (Christian Terrorism is......
ArchaeoBob (8 comments)
More aggressive proselytizing
My wife told me today of an experience she had this last week, where she was proselytized by a McDonald's employee while in the store. ......
ArchaeoBob (5 comments)
See if you recognize names on this list
This comes from the local newspaper, which was conservative before and took a hard right turn after it was sold. Hint: Sarah Palin's name is on it!  (It's also connected to Trump.) ......
ArchaeoBob (3 comments)
Unions: A Labor Day Discussion
This is a revision of an article which I posted on my personal board and also on Dailykos. I had an interesting discussion on a discussion board concerning Unions. I tried to piece it......
Xulon (4 comments)
Extremely obnoxious protesters at WitchsFest NYC: connected to NAR?
In July of this year, some extremely loud, obnoxious Christian-identified protesters showed up at WitchsFest, an annual Pagan street fair here in NYC.  Here's an account of the protest by Pagan writer Heather Greene......
Diane Vera (3 comments)
Capitalism and the Attack on the Imago Dei
I joined this site today, having been linked here by Crooksandliars' Blog Roundup. I thought I'd put up something I put up previously on my Wordpress blog and also at the DailyKos. As will......
Xulon (2 comments)
History of attitudes towards poverty and the churches.
Jesus is said to have stated that "The Poor will always be with you" and some Christians have used that to refuse to try to help the poor, because "they will always be with......
ArchaeoBob (13 comments)
Alternate economy medical treatment
Dogemperor wrote several times about the alternate economy structure that dominionists have built.  Well, it's actually made the news.  Pretty good article, although it doesn't get into how bad people could be (have been)......
ArchaeoBob (5 comments)
Evidence violence is more common than believed
Think I've been making things up about experiencing Christian Terrorism or exaggerating, or that it was an isolated incident?  I suggest you read this article (linked below in body), which is about our great......
ArchaeoBob (7 comments)
Central Florida Sheriff Preached Sermon in Uniform
If anyone has been following the craziness in Polk County Florida, they know that some really strange and troubling things have happened here.  We've had multiple separation of church and state lawsuits going at......
ArchaeoBob (2 comments)
Demon Mammon?
An anthropologist from outer space might be forgiven for concluding that the god of this world is Mammon. (Or, rather, The Market, as depicted by John McMurtry in his book The Cancer Stage of......
daerie (2 comments)
Anti-Sharia Fever in Texas: This is How It Starts
The mayor of a mid-size Texan city has emerged in recent months as the newest face of Islamophobia. Aligning herself with extremists hostile to Islam, Mayor Beth Van Duyne of Irving, Texas has helped......
JSanford (2 comments)

More Diaries...




All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. Comments, posts, stories, and all other content are owned by the authors. Everything else 2005 Talk to Action, LLC.